A Night In Tintagel

Many bonjours and welcome to the first proper stop on our roadtrip through Cornwall. Not to get you so excited that you literally do not sleep until this series is complete (v unadvisable, particularly given my proclivity for disappearance), but this merry little sojourn is possibly the best thing Will and I have done in the 15+ months since he finally convinced me to date him. High key suspect it will stay that way until either 1. we embark upon another similar but longer trip where I get even more fab instagram material or 2. he finally relents and allows me to become the phenomenal Mommy Blogger I was born to be. Given that we are in no financial position to support an infant at present, and there is no point in taking another road trip until I've finished posting about this one, I figured it was probably time I filled you in on the Many Joys of Cornwall.

The planning for this trip took place over a series of spreadsheets. Love a spreadsheet. And never is it more important to budget one's time than on a R O A D T R I P. Destinations. Broken down by day. Adding columns for travel time. Factoring in activities. Adjusting accordingly. Delicately put, I was absolutely thriving. However, there was one vital aspect with which I requested the assistance of My Many Fans, and that was deciding which places to hit up. As per always, my main bae WilbyJP came through with the goods in the form of Tintagel, which he prefaced by querying as to whether or not I might be interested in the (absolute bloody) legend of King Arthur. Considering I have voluntarily suffered through multiple seasons of Merlin: The Very Shittest Wizard Ever, one can imagine that my answer was yes, and thus off to Tintagel we went.

The link between King Arthur and Tintagel is one that I do not a hundy percent understand, but apparently word on the 12th century street was that he was conceived in/around Tintagel Castle, and that's good enough for me. I understand on an intellectual level that King Arthur was not real, but this is a fact I choose to ignore. In any case, as you will soon see, Tintagel Castle and the surrounding landscape is suitably mythical-looking, and there are plenty of watery caves for one's various sorcery concocting needs, so authenticity aside the vibe is certainly right.

After a slow start to the day and our brief stop off in Lacock, we put the pedal to the metal (slash comfortably upholstered floor of the brand new rental car) and drove the last few hours to Cornwall in one straight shot. This meant that although we knew we would end up arriving too late in the day to visit the ticketed areas of the castle, we still had plenty of daylight to work with. We pulled into The Avalon (suitably Arthurian name) some time around 6pm, and I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for somewhere in the area. It's at the end of the main stretch of shops and restaurants so within easy walking distance of anywhere you'd want to go, the room comes with a fab array of free little treats (including hot chocolate, which is always a winner when one is travelling with Will), they have a restaurant on site and the view from the back of the property is insane. Best of all, if you're in town for the mythical side of things, it's an easy downhill walk from The Avalon to Tintagel Castle.

Keen for a solid stretch of the ol' legs (and discovering there was no car-friendly route, but let's pretend the more wholesome choice was immediate) we checked into our room and immediately set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Not really, as I mentioned we arrived too late to go into the actual cool bit, but it was still pretty sick regardless. Walking a few metres from our hotel, we followed a quaint wooden sign and turned right, down a steep dusty lane. When I say steep, I mean I was walking down it lamenting the fact that there would inevitably come a time that I would have to essentially rock climb my way back up but, like the warrior I am, I decided to ignore that brewing trauma and continue my valiant downhill trot. After a few minutes of traipsing through various shrubberies and promising myself I would find an alternate route back to the hotel if it was the last thing I did, we reached a fork in the road with another olde timey wooden sign in the middle (it was actually not even old, I just assume everything in the country/made of wood is some sort of relic #sueme), and made the decision to head uphill to the coastal path.

Happily this proved to be a fantastic decision. Although the castle-bearing island itself was closed, there was a significant smattering of ruins still available for our perusal and photographic needs. Thank. Goodness. Most importantly, as I reached the outermost edge of said ruins and looked over the side I was met by a clear view of the waves below crashing on some rocks in an exceptionally aesthetically pleasing manner, and I felt at peace. I have some sort of subconscious dependence on the ocean that results in my gradual loss of sanity whenever I go for too long without a solid gaze at the sea, and it's not until that magical time finally comes that all my aquatic angst dissipates. If you'll recall early last year I frolicked off to Northern Ireland to avoid having a work-induced meltdown, and ended up driving to the most northern tip of Ireland to stare moodily at the Atlantic Ocean as my soul lifted up out of my body, shook itself free of accumulated strife and popped back in, refreshed. This was not quite on that level, but definitely possessing a similarly rejuvenating and promisingly instagrammable quality.

What you see in the image above is the stairway leading to the island where the actual castle and, more importantly, a very badass statue reside. I did briefly descend these picturesque stairs, in equal measure for the potential pics and to get in my #cardio for the day, but the border for the ticketed portion of the attraction kicks in at the bottom so I jogged right back up again. Really quickly and gracefully and without any exasperated shouting or the need to stop and audibly pant at the top. It was a bit annoying that we couldn't see the door everyone on tumblr has photos of, especially considering the extent to which it is 100% my aesthetic, but the true extent of my loss was yet to be revealed.

Aside from the castle, one of the main Arthurian attractions in Tintagel is a statue. This particular statue, which you can & I suggest you do google image, is one of the most baller statues I have ever seen (or not actually seen, as 'twould transpire), and TRUST me I am QUITE the connoisseur. Following little to no research I had imagined that it would just be perched, easily visible, on the edge of an otherwise barren cliff very close to the hotel, on account of when I look at a place on google maps I forget to factor in terrain or scale or any buildings/roads/structures whatsoever. Turns out it is on the edge of a cliff, but that cliff is on the island that we could not access, and so I had to view it from afar by zooming in super close on my camera as it stood there, out of reach, mocking me. I know. My life is but a series of crushing tragedies and it is a phenomenal triumph that I manage to persevere at all. If you must write a ballad about my struggles, make sure there is a key change.

Having seen all there was to see of the immediate set of ruins, we headed uphill again, much to my eternal delight. A personal highlight of this journey was the part where we ascended a set of very ye olde looking steps, which were just slabs of rock shoved into a bigger slab of rock. Very safe. Very rustic. I'm aware I'm making this all seem very underwhelming and inconvenient but it was actually an incredibly enjoyable and wholesome way to spend an evening. Reaching our final altitude as the sun was setting, I was able to enjoy a lovely display of nature's glorious wonder whilst I died a quiet, exhausted death from the series of gentle slopes up which I had nobly shuffled.

Speaking of the inescapable mortality which silently hangs over each and every one of us from birth til eventual demise, atop this final cliff was a small stone church, with a very picturesque graveyard. Picturesque graveyards seemed to be quite the running theme in Cornwall, with the appearance of another seaside cemetery just outside St. Ives. Truly prime real estate. I could say 'a view to die for' but I won't because that's probs insensitive. This graveyard had an oddly serene quality to it, and we spent a little while wandering around the area as the sun set. By 'wandering' I actually mean stomping, because there was a sign warning of potential adders in the grass, and I am not trying to get bit no sir.

Having had our fill of wandering for the evening and feeling rawther ready to eat, we set our sights on The Avalon in the distance and started walking. I was particularly hopeful that we might find an alternative route to the vertical climb of a hill we'd descended on our outward journey, and I was not disappointed. There was a slight incline, but nothing quite as meltdown-inducing as expected, and we found our way back to the hotel before they closed the kitchen. I very much enjoyed my pasta, which was punctuated by ample chortles re: the fact that the boy waiting on us (who I'm pretty sure was the son of the owner) was essentially a living, breathing version of the teenage love interest straight out of a novelised version I would have written of my own life, circa 2008. Messy haired shy blonde surfer boy in a sleepy holiday town waiting for a sharp-witted city brunette to draw him out of his shell, albeit inexplicably wearing a mismatched plaid shirt and shorts combo. Luvz it. Will said I would have been obsessed with him if I were 5+ years younger and he was not wrong.

The next morning we arose, feeling surprisingly spritely for such an early hour considering we'd stayed up to watch the critically acclaimed cinematic triumph that is Bridget Jones's Baby (which is coincidentally also on TV as I type this), with the promise of free coffee and breakfast with a view at the forefront of our agendas. We'd filled in our breakfast orders the night before, so we sat in the dining room and admired (took IG story photos of) the ridiculously idyllic table-window-view combo whilst we waited for it all to be cooked nextdoor. Eventually, after taking full advantage of caffeine refills, mapping out our first few routes of the day and loading up on as much all-inclusive food as my breakfast-averse constitution could take, we checked out of our room and hopped back in the car for our first full day in Cornwall.

Because we were only there overnight we didn't do much exploring in the actual town, and I do really want to get the full castle experience, so perhaps there will be a return journey somewhere in our future. Need to see me some cavey goodness and get that sweet, sweet pic of the door, for the betterment of mankind. Also there was a phenomenally high number of witch shops for such a tiny town, and witch shops are my favourite kind of shops after stationery and Australian Nando's, so I believe it will call me back one day. There is also a famous witch museum in a vaguely nearby town, which Will forbade me from incorporating into our itinerary this time, so next time I just won't ask. As it was, we still had a baller time frolicking on the accessible cliffs, and it was a suitably oceanside start to what would end up being a majestic weekend.